Skip to main content

Wells Fargo reveals how many Minnesotans were caught up in its phony accounts scandal

The new information has come to light after Rep. Keith Ellison asked a number of questions of the beleaguered bank.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Wells Fargo has revealed the extent to which Minnesotans were affected by its phony account scandal, which saw bank employees create potentially more than 2 million deposit and credit accounts in customers' names in order to meet sales targets.

The embattled bank released more information about the scandal in response to questions from the House Financial Services Committee, with Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison among those getting answers.

Wells Fargo fired more than 5,300 staff after it was found they had been taking out credit cards or overdrafts in customers' names and creating phony, fee-generating deposit accounts and transferring money from other, legitimate accounts to pad them out.

Many of these happened without customers' knowledge or permission over a period of five years, with the company earning $10 million in fees and charges as a result over that period.

Rep. Ellison questioned the bank about the impact on Minnesotans, and his staff sent GoMN a copy of the responses from Wells Fargo on Monday. Here's what they revealed.

  • There were potentially 14,848 unauthorized credit card accounts set up in Minnesota customers' names.
  • There were 16,306 deposit accounts that potentially experienced "simulated funding" – which is when money is taken from an authorized account to pad other, fee-generating deposit accounts set up without customers' knowledge.
  • Of the 5,300 staff fired for their involvement in the scandal across the country, 172 of them were in Minnesota.

The reason the account numbers are being referred to as "potentially" unauthorized is because Wells Fargo isn't 100 percent sure that's the case for all of them.

It notes that of those they've contacted about potentially unauthorized credit cards, only around 25 percent of customers said they either didn't approve the credit card or couldn't remember if they had or not.

But while the majority of customers affected in Minnesota may have only had one credit card, overdraft or other line of credit taken out/increased in their name, some were targeted multiple times – particularly those who were victims of simulated funding.

Wells Fargo reveals that in four cases, customers' deposit accounts were used for the simulated funding of phony accounts on at least 11 occasions.

Wells Fargo was fined $185 million by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) over the scandal, and NPR reports that it is looking to recoup $75 million of that from two executives who oversaw the company and sales division at the time.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 8.55.56 AM

Officials looking for man last seen leaving Hudson home

David Mckay, 67, was last seen in Hudson Thursday morning.

covid

'Hyper-contagious' BA.4, BA.5 COVID variants confirmed in MN

Omicron continues to evolve into a more transmissible virus.

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, May 20

The latest data shows there are 442 people with COVID hospitalized in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 6.49.01 AM

Deadly night in St. Paul sees 3 people killed, 1 arrest so far

The three incidents bring St. Paul's homicide total up to 18 this year.

police lights

2 killed in broad daylight drive-by shooting in Robbinsdale

The identities of the victims have not been released.

Seatbelted driver.

Road deaths involving unbelted people rose again in 2021

This is the second year in a row that the number has gone up.

hennepin sheriff hutchinson screengrab facebook

Hennepin Co. Sheriff Dave Hutchinson on paid leave for health reasons

The sheriff, who was recently convicted of drunk-driving, is set to stand down later this year.

Crane Lake

Flooding expected to worsen in MN's Arrowhead region

Hundreds of private homes are at-risk in northern St. Louis County.

St. Paul Police crash

St. Paul police: Kids in stolen car rammed squad, hid in porta-potty

The incident sent the Minnesota Capitol into a brief lockdown.

IMG_7030

Watch: Storm updates after heavy hail slams Twin Cities

Sven Sundgaard is providing an update after Thursday's flash hail storm.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP apologizes over antisemitic sequence in candidate's campaign video

Party leader says candidate didn't know the imagery perpetuated an antisemitic trope.

Related

Scandal-hit Wells Fargo sees huge drop in new account, credit customers

The phony account scandal revealed last year is taking a huge toll on the bank's reputation.

Minnesota-born Wells Fargo CEO retires amid phony account scandal

John Stumpf, the Minnesota-born CEO of banking giant Wells Fargo, has announced his retirement from the company effective immediately.

Wells Fargo says $110M should make up for the fake account scandal

The phony account scandal led to thousands of Wells Fargo workers being fired.

Widespread banking outage angers Wells Fargo customers

Mobile and online banking is affected, as are some ATMs and credit card services.

Wells Fargo refunding $98M for charges that were mainly its fault

It impacts mortgage customers who were charged fees for delays they weren't responsible for.

Minneapolis reveals its plan for getting to a $15 minimum wage

It doesn't include the "tip credit" for servers.